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Too Precious To Mine

We recently exposed secret Government plans to open up the Buller Plateau for more coal mining. This would be a disaster for the area’s unique biodiversity, as well as the climate. We need your help to stop these plans. Will you tell the Prime Minister that the Buller Plateau is too precious to mine?

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TO: Bill English – Prime Minister (b.english@ministers.govt.nz)

CC:  Hon Maggie Barry – Minister for Conservation (m.barry@ministers.govt.nz); Hon Steven Joyce – Minister of Finance (s.joyce@ministers.govt.nz);  Hon Simon Bridges – Minister for Economic Development (s.bridges@ministers.govt.nz); Hon Judith Collins – Minister for Energy and Resources (j.collins@ministers.govt.nz).

Subject: The Buller Plateau is too precious to mine

 

 

Dear Prime Minister,

I am writing in regard to the Government’s plans to expand coal-mining operations on the ecologically rich and nationally important landscape of the Buller Plateau.

Unique environment

The Buller Plateau is an ancient landform, featuring unusual rock formations and ecosystems containing plants and animals that are not replicated anywhere else in the world. Some of the country’s best ecological experts agree that further increases in coal mining are almost certain to push some species into extinction.

Plants and animals under threat

The dwarf forests of the Buller Plateau and nearby Te Kuha are home to giant weta, green gecko, fernbirds, and other threatened species. Great spotted kiwi forage in the taller beech trees that grow in the river gullies. One of the most unique red tussockland wetlands in the country could be lost to mining, and local rivers – home to freshwater crayfish – will be irrevocably changed through acid mine-drainage.

Secret deals

I am deeply concerned by the secrecy around Government plans to make new areas of public land on the plateau available to a private mining company, along with promises of fast-tracked approvals and reduced environmental conditions.

Empty promises

The West Coast has suffered for many years under the boom-and-bust cycle of the coal industry, to the detriment of local communities. On the Denniston Plateau, the Escarpment mine has been mothballed in its early stages of development, meaning that the promised 225 jobs have evaporated. The once thriving Stockton mine is now barely ticking over, with 350 jobs lost. West Coasters have the right to expect a sustainable and innovative economic plan that doesn’t damage the environment and gives them certainty.

Coal has no future

The future for coal looks bleak. The international price for coking coal is extremely volatile, and has halved in the past six months. With coal use being reduced in other countries because of climate change and improving steel technology (greater recycling and the use of electricity to produce steel) and the Trump administration planning to re-open US coal mines, future New Zealand coal mines are not looking economically viable.

Climate disaster

The planned mines would be a disaster for the climate. Over 20 years, up to 187 million tonnes of CO2 could be produced by the new mines. This equates to 3 million cars on the road for 20 years, or an extra 5 Huntly power stations. It doesn’t matter that the coal would be burnt in India or China, it’s all taking us in the same direction – dangerous climate disruption.

I’ll be voting for nature

I will be carefully considering the environmental and conservation policies of political parties before placing my vote this election, and urging others to do the same.

Please act now

These places are too precious to sacrifice to the boom-and-bust coal industry. I ask that you halt Government plans to open up new areas on the Buller Plateau for coal mining, and that you work to provide permanent protection for the plateau’s unique and outstanding landscapes and biodiversity.

Yours sincerely,

[YOUR NAME]

Too Precious To Mine

Dear Minister,

I am writing in regard to the Government’s plans to expand coal-mining operations on the ecologically rich and nationally important landscape of the Buller Plateau.

Unique environment
The Buller Plateau is an ancient landform, featuring unusual rock formations and ecosystems containing plants and animals that are not replicated anywhere else in the world. Some of the country’s best ecological experts agree that further increases in coal mining are almost certain to push some species into extinction.

Plants and animals under threat
The dwarf forests of the Buller Plateau and nearby Te Kuha are home to giant weta, green gecko, fernbirds, and other threatened species. Great spotted kiwi forage in the taller beech trees that grow in the river gullies. One of the most unique red tussockland wetlands in the country could be lost to mining, and local rivers - home to freshwater crayfish - will be irrevocably changed through acid mine-drainage.

Secret deals
I am deeply concerned by the secrecy around Government plans to make new areas of public land on the plateau available to a private mining company, along with promises of fast-tracked approvals and reduced environmental conditions.

Empty promises
The West Coast has suffered for many years under the boom-and-bust cycle of the coal industry, to the detriment of local communities. On the Denniston Plateau, the Escarpment mine has been mothballed in its early stages of development, meaning that the promised 225 jobs have evaporated. The once thriving Stockton mine is now barely ticking over, with 350 jobs lost. West Coasters have the right to expect a sustainable and innovative economic plan that doesn’t damage the environment and gives them certainty.

Coal has no future
The future for coal looks bleak. The international price for coking coal is extremely volatile, and has halved in the past six months. With coal use being reduced in other countries because of climate change and improving steel technology (greater recycling and the use of electricity to produce steel) and the Trump administration planning to re-open US coal mines, future New Zealand coal mines are not looking economically viable.

Climate disaster
The planned mines would be a disaster for the climate. Over 20 years, up to 187 million tonnes of CO2 could be produced by the new mines. This equates to 3 million cars on the road for 20 years, or an extra 5 Huntly power stations. It doesn't matter that the coal would be burnt in India or China, it’s all taking us in the same direction - dangerous climate disruption.

I’ll be voting for nature
I will be carefully considering the environmental and conservation policies of political parties before placing my vote this election, and urging others to do the same.

Please act now
These places are too precious to sacrifice to the boom-and-bust coal industry. I ask that you halt Government plans to open up new areas on the Buller Plateau for coal mining, and that you work to provide permanent protection for the plateau’s unique and outstanding landscapes and biodiversity.

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